Is there not a cause? – The necessity of Christian Education

The substance of an address given at a special School meeting in Kilkeel Free Presbyterian Church on Tuesday 19th April 2011

Rom 16 v 19 For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.

Christian Education has been operating within the Free Presbyterian Church since September 1979 when the first School opened in Kilskeery. However the concept of the children of believers being taught within the environs of the house of God was not an innovation dreamed up by Free Presbyterians.

Christian Education has been present within the Church of Christ since Bible times. It had always been the case that it was religious organisations which educated the children, not those who exercised governmental authority. It is the State authorities who are the recent converts to the area of educating children within their establishments, not the Church of Jesus Christ.

Reformed Churches have been particularly active in the area of instructing their children within the environs of the Church. Long before Sabbath Schools and Children’s meetings were arranged Churches actively pursued the teaching of the children of believers within the Church.

Romanism, it has been said, spent her money on building ornate Cathedrals and abbeys, Protestantism, particularly Reformed Protestantism, build her places of learning. John Calvin established schools and an university in Geneva. John Knox wanted a Christian School in every parish in Scotland.

The necessity of Christian Education comes from the Word of God. We have the Scriptural exhortation that: a threefold cord is not quickly broken, Eccl 4:12. There are three essential aspects to the environment that God says children should be reared and instructed in:

[1] The Home. The father and mother must be right with God and be those who walk with God and have in their home an atmosphere that is God honouring.

[2] The Church. The Church must be faithful to the faith once delivered to the saints. If it is compromising with the world, or with religious apostasy, then it will fail the rising generation.

[3] The School. There must not be in school an undoing of that which is taught in the home and the Church. The system of State education is a secular system providing a secular education and sadly doing it all too well.

The Church and the School will only be as good for the child as the Home is. If the home is not right then neither the Church or the School will make up for the failing of parents at home. The Church and School are not get out clauses for failing parents. Many parents turn round and blame the Church/School for their own failures.

The importance of the school in a child’s life. Children from 4 – 16 yrs. old, compulsory school age, spend on average 6 hours per day, 185 days per year in a school environment and in someone’s else company. That is about the 25% of a child’s waking hours is spent, not in the company of their parents, but often in the company of the ungodly and in an environment that may be totally opposed to what the home and the Church teaches. Often in the company of people we would never dream of asking into our home to baby-sit our children if we were going out for the evening.

A child/young person spending 2 hours at Church + 1 hour at Sabbath School + 1 hour at Children’s Meeting/Youth Fellowship over the same 12 years will only spend 4% of their waking hours in this environment.

The Free Presbyterian Church exists because of the importance of that 4% what about the importance of the 25% Christian. That is why a Christian School exists!

We want this evening to consider the environment in which our children are to be raised.

It is surely every believing parent’s chief desire that their children grow up and come to Christ and then be best fitted to serve Christ all their days. This text will instruct us as to the environment needed for the children.

The environment set forth here is not one believed in by the state sector of education or even by some Christians. There are to be made wise unto that which is good and kept simple concerning that which is evil.

I. Our children are to be wise unto that which is good.

That which is good is simply that which is honouring to God, Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Our children therefore need to learn everything in the light of that which is honouring to God. There needs to be a setting before them continually what is good by precept and example. There needs to be encouragement to pursue the good and shun the evil. There needs to be a striving to an attainment of the good.

It is not a knowledge from afar off but a coming unto the good.

The word translated ‘wise’ is not the usual/majority word in the NT. It is the same word that is used when speaking of the benefit of the Word of God, 2 Tim 3:15,16.

The teaching that children receive needs to be grounded upon the Word of God in order to be wise. Not in the eyes of men but in the eyes of God.

The state system has abandoned the Bible as a text book.

God teaches all His children in three ways: [1] by precept, [2] by encouragement through good example and [3] by way of warning through the consequences of sinful behaviour.

Ask yourself this question Christ: is this how the State system of education teaches the children under its care? Does it set down the good ways of God? does it encourage a following of good example? does it hold up the consequences of sinful behaviour? No it is not. It does the very opposite. God and the things of God barely gets a mention.

It is no good a little spiritual knowledge imparted now and again. This is one argument for staying in the state system. It is a totally unbiblical argument, Isa 28:10,13. The best way to teach children is a little often repeated.

Is it the parent and the church who have a little time each week with children or is it the system of state education that is able to function on this basis where is a little often repeated? Every day the state system is dripping poison into the hearts of the children of God’s people.

II. Our children are to be simple concerning evil.

The word simple means without a mixture of evil, free from guile, innocent, simple, lacking in knowledge. Not naive, but simple concerning evil.

That is not the prevailing philosophy of this age. Perceived wisdom has it that children need to be taught and need to know everything. That they are to have a knowledge of everything going and the younger the better.

Evil communications corrupt good manners. 1 Cor 15:33. God’s Word teaches that they be kept from a knowledge of sin. Simple concerning evil. The benefits of this counsel is being found out the hard way by society. The more children are taught about sinful lifestyles the more it increases.

This is applicable to what is taught in the classroom and what they hear in the playground. In the classroom God and His truth is attacked, the family unit is attacked, the role of fathers is often a particular focus of attack. The playground is often an education in sin.

We would not let our children watch or listen to improper language yet they hear it every day in a state school. The continual drip drip of wickedness just weakens them.

Christian Education is about Children learning without the mixture of evil as much as possible. I readily acknowledge that any Christian school is not a perfect environment.

Christian Education is the logical extension of the Biblical doctrine of separation from the world and apostasy that we practice as a denomination.

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